Jan 29, 2013

Using Personas to Target Your Content Marketing
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Who are the people in your audience?In the next episode of the Content Marketing Podcast (scheduled to drop on Thursday), I talk about the need to know your audience before you spend one minute—or one penny—on your content strategy.

And it’s not just a demographics exercise. You really need to get inside your customers’ heads and understand what I call their “pain points.” That’s their problems, their fears, and their frustrations. In other words, the things that keep them up at night—and the things that you can help them deal with.

Without that vital step of gathering and processing information about your audience, you risk wasting a huge amount of time, effort, and possibly money. Of course, wrangling all that data and organizing it to a point where it’s useful can be a daunting task, especially for us small businesses with limited time and resources.

Enter the audience persona.

As you look at your audience data, you’ll probably notice certain trends: certain demographics, pain points, or other information that pops up on a regular basis. Creating personas simply means grouping that data into “virtual consumers” who can help guide your content planning. Trust me, it’s not as weird as it sounds.

Meet “Katherine”

Let’s say you run a catering company that specializes in weddings. After analyzing your data, you might come up with a dozen or more personas, one of which might look like this:

  • Name: “Katherine” (yes, I like to make up names for easy identification)
  • Role: Mother of the bride
  • Gender: Female
  • Marital Status: Married
  • Age: 63
  • Pain Points: Dealing with vendors who don’t show up, the stress of having to get a million things done before the wedding day, communicating and coordinating with the groom’s family, trying to keep my daughter off the radar of the Bridezillas producers, etc.

After a little brainstorming with your team, you’ll probably come up with at least 10 to 15 more pain points that a mother of the bride experiences. And each one of those points could be spun into a blog post, an e-newsletter article, or any number of other content deliverables. Take an informal poll among actual customers and you’ll be armed with even more data.

Once you have a clear picture of “Katherine,” along with all the others in your customer universe, you can have a clear picture in your mind of who will be receiving—and, ideally, reading, appreciating, and sharing—your content.

OK, so what will “Katherine” think about all this? Sure, she’s a busy lady with a lot on her mind … but when she comes across a piece of content that seems to whisper, “I know what you’re going through, and I’m here to help,” she’ll drop everything to give it a read. She might share it with friends who are also planning their daughters’ weddings. And when the time comes to choose a caterer, the fact that you’ve made a positive first impression means you’ll already have a leg up on the competition.

All because you took a little extra time to create a persona.

So, what’s your experience with creating audience personas for your content? If you have any tips to share, let us know in the contents—we’d love to hear from you!


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About the Author

Rachel ParkerA self-described “marketing nerd,” Rachel Parker, Owner and Chief Content Strategist of Resonance, works with businesses of all sizes to help them meet the challenge of connecting with today’s hard-to-reach customer.

Rachel has made Resonance the “one stop shop” for companies looking to get more out of their content marketing efforts. She’s also a sought-after speaker and has presented to many of Houston’s major business and marketing organizations. Contact Rachel about speaking to your group or business.


 


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Rachel Parker

A self-proclaimed geek who can recite entire episodes of South Park by heart, Rachel Parker helps businesses publish content that connects with their audience … and converts those followers into customers. She’s also the host of the Content Marketing Podcast and a sought-after speaker, having presented to many major business and marketing organizations.
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Rachel Parker

A self-proclaimed geek who can recite entire episodes of South Park by heart, Rachel Parker helps businesses publish content that connects with their audience … and converts those followers into customers. She’s also the host of the Content Marketing Podcast and a sought-after speaker, having presented to many major business and marketing organizations.

More Curations by Rachel